I dont know that I have ever been more excited about the Mariners rotation heading into a season. They have three pitchers who could lead a rotation, 2 of which are highly favored to win the Cy Young this upcoming season. It rounds out with two guys who have been on the minds of aany team in baseball looking for pitching help across baseball. Oh, and that isn't to mention the one guy on the team who actually won a Cy Young.
It's Luis Castillo that leads the way, just edging out Kirby by a single vote. Funny enough, Kirby and Castillo each got a single first place vote, but it was a 4th place vote for Kirby that dropped him below Castillo in the overall average.
Luis Castillo comes in as our #2 in the Mariners player rankings
Castillo has been a stud since coming to the Mariners in a summertime trade with the Reds. He's put together a 3.29 ERA, a 1.098 WHIP, and has struck out 10.0/9 or better in each season so far.
A strong finish last year could've seen Castillo finish second in the Cy Young voting and knock his ERA down below 3.00. Instead, he struggled and ended up with a 3.34 on the season. Not too shabby still, but it wasn't what the Mariners were hoping for at the end of the year with the playoffs on the line.
Castillo did lead the Mariners throughout the year, having odd runs of luck all season. Heading into his August 11th start, he was only 7-7 on the season, despite a 3.21 ERA. He would go 7-0 over his next 8 starts with a 2.65 ERA, and more importantly he averaged 6.5 innings per start, taking a big load off the Mariners bullpen.
Unfortunately, he struggled his last two outings, running out of gas and taking the L in both starts. He still had a great season, but just couldn't finish out well enough.
I do think it's a good argument, and a fun one to have, in talking about who the Mariners Ace heading into 2024. is. Personally, I think it is still Luis Castillo, but this is the last year that it will be the case. Kirby is right on his tail and only seems to be getting better. Castillo is going to be in the hunt for the Cy young all year again... but it's going to be tough if the Mariners can't score any runs for him. Castillo is a stud, and I'm excited to watch him in 2024.